17-year-old ballerina’s death caused by birth control pill, doctors believe

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MANCHESTER, England, April 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Maria Santa, a healthy and gifted 17 year-old ballerina from Romania, died unexpectedly from a blood clot that doctors believe was caused by taking oral contraceptives.

Maria, who was studying in England on a scholarship at Manchester’s famous Northern Ballet School, went to a walk-in medical facility complaining of severe headaches, her father Robert Santa explained.  No testing was done to see what was wrong, and Maria was sent home with antibiotics.

But Maria only got worse “day by day,” her father said.  A second visit to the doctor did not help, either.

Maria began vomiting every hour, without eating or drinking.  Going to the healthcare center for the third time last fall, she said she found it difficult to stand or sit;  all she wanted to do was lie down.  She was again given pills and sent home.

Two days later, on November 11, Maria complained that it felt like her head was going to explode, and she couldn’t feel her right leg.  She was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Mr. Santa shared that when the doctor came into her hospital room, Maria “could speak, then when he came back and asked where the headache was, she couldn’t speak.”

“The doctor told us not to worry because she was tired,” Mr. Santa said.  “She didn’t speak any more, and she needed help with everything.”

Later that morning, Maria’s boyfriend found her unconscious at their apartment.

Maria was rushed to Salford Royal Hospital, but never regained consciousness.  She died two days later.

The doctor who treated Maria at the hospital, Dr. Jonathan Greenbaum, said, “She was a fit, young woman, and the only risk factor was being on the oral contraceptive pill.”

He explained that the risk of blood clots with oral contraception is “very low, but if you take the pill then your risk is slightly increased.”  He said identifying a medical risk is difficult, “because it’s so rare and the symptoms can be non-specific.”

Maria’s case, he said, was “just unfortunate and bad luck.”

“In Greater Manchester, I would guess we would see three or four patients a year with this problem,” Dr. Greenbaum estimated.

Dr. Piyali Pal, a pathologist, said Maria’s cause of death was blood clots in the brain.

“Causes could be dehydration, malnutrition, blood clotting disorders or somebody who had taken oral contraception pills. There was no underlying pathological cause,” he said. “It’s very very rare for someone so young to have this condition. One woman who was a similar age was also on some form of oral contraception.”

Coroner Simon Nelson recorded Maria’s cause of death as “natural causes.”

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